What a trade deadline! Every team in the Majors made a trade, except for the Colorado Rockies. I was pretty distracted as every time I refreshed my news feed, I was assaulted with what felt like three other trades. The most significant trade was the Juan Soto/Josh Bell deal to the San Diego Padres, but before that, our Mariners made the big splash by acquiring Luis Castillo. Why were the Mariners active during the trade deadline? On June 21st, the Mariners were eight games back of the third wild card spot. However, they went on an absolute tear, going 26-10 since then, and are now one game up on that third wild card spot. Baseball-Reference puts their postseason chances at 81.5%, which every M’s fan has been eyeing since 2001. Let’s look at and review the notable trades the Mariners have made during the trading frenzy.
Wyatt Mills (P) and William Fleming (P) to the Kansas City Royals for Carlos Santana (1B/DH)
Before the flurry of trades happened in the league, the Mariners and Royals agreed to swap two minor league pitchers to bring former Mariner great Carlos Santana back to Seattle. At the time, Ty France had hit the IL with an elbow injury, and Seattle was in the middle of an incredible 22-3 run. His offense has been spotty at times, but he still provides the potential for some excellent home run power. Santana’s contract also is up at the end of the year, providing financial flexibility next year. For the Royals, this allows their promising first basemen Vinnie Pasquantino to get at-bats while having potential for two starting pitchers down the line.
Noel Marte (SS), Levi Stoudt (P), Edwin Arroyo (SS), and Andrew Moore (P) to the Cincinnati Reds for Luis Castillo (SP)
Perhaps the most significant trade before the Soto transaction was this trade. The Reds received a pair of shortstops, most notably Noelvi Marte. Marte is considered the best shortstop prospect in the minors, ranking as high as eighth in MLB’s Top 100 Pipeline. Marte has the potential to be your best hitter, and at the shortstop position, they would be a significant addition to the Reds. As for the other pitchers, Moore sticks out the most, topping out at 102 mph. For the Mariners, they picked up perhaps the most impactful starting pitcher available in Luis Castillo. Castillo has always been a top-of-the-rotation arm, posting a 3.63 ERA in almost 800 innings in the majors. He features a fastball that can reach 100 mph while dropping off his deadly changeup. That same changeup was the best pitch in the majors back in 2019, with a run value of -28, meaning his changeup was solely responsible for stopping 28 runs. On top of this, Castillo has one more year of team control, so the Mariners are in an excellent spot for next year, with Robbie Ray and Logan Gilbert a part of their rotation.
Michael Stryffeler (RP) and Andy Thomas (C) to the San Fransisco Giants for Curt Casali (C) and Matthew Boyd (SP)
In what seems like a lopsided trade to me, the Mariners acquired excellent veteran leadership in Matt Boyd and Curt Casali. On Matthew Boyd, he was once thought of as a rotation-worthy pitcher but has been on the IL all year. He recently threw a 40-pitch bullpen session and is expected to start games before the end of the year. On Curt Casali, he provides offense out of the catcher position for the Mariners. Going into the season, Tom Murphy, the starting catcher, injured his shoulder and is out the rest of the year. In the meantime, Cal Raleigh has been thrust into the catcher role and doing a decent job, but his .204 batting average leaves room for improvement that the Mariners don’t have time to wait on. Boyd and Casali also come off the books next year, giving them more money to play with this offseason.
Overall Grade: B
I don’t have any “inside baseball” on whether or not the Mariners offered anything for Juan Soto, but they may have felt they didn’t have a shot at getting him, which is where I would have given the Mariners an “A+” grade. Juan Soto will be one of the best hitters of recent memory, and you have to take your shot at a generational talent. Instead, they used their gem prospect, Noelvi Marte, to get a number one starter in Luis Castillo, and will retain him until the end of next year. By trading for veterans Curt Casali, Matthew Boyd, and Carlos Santana, they will provide experience in the clubhouse for young rookies Jared Kelenic and phenom Julio Rodriguez. That’s something that baseball statistics can’t show you.